Patients in the progressive care unit typically experience high levels of pain and anxiety and exhibit difficulty sleeping.


To determine whether either clinical massage or guided imagery could reduce pain and anxiety and improve sleep.


This study included 288 inpatients on 2 floors of a progressive care unit. On 1 floor, each patient was offered daily a 15-minute complimentary clinical massage, whereas the patients on the other floor were provided access to a 30-minute guided-imagery recording. Patients were asked to rate their pain and anxiety levels immediately before and after the massage intervention or were asked whether the guided-imagery intervention was helpful for pain, anxiety, or insomnia.


The massage intervention showed an immediate and significant reduction in self-reported pain and anxiety (P < .001); likewise, a significant number of patients self-reported that guided imagery helped alleviate pain, anxiety, and insomnia (P < .001).


The results of this study indicate that clinical massage and guided imagery can benefit patients in the progressive care unit.

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